Suri (West Bengal): A 21-year-old migrant worker died by suicide in West Bengal’s Birbhum district after he was accused by his neighbour of theft. The migrant worker was subsequently detained by the police, who allegedly also beat him up in the custody, his family said.
The officer-in-charge of the Lokpur police station here, Ramesh Mondal, was relieved from duty while another officer, Saroj Ghosh, was suspended in connection with the incident, said DSP Shyam Singh. “A departmental investigation has been started against the two,” he said Thursday.
Souvik Garai was found hanging at his home in Ruposhpur village Tuesday morning. The suicide triggered tension in the area with Garai’s family alleging that he killed himself after being beaten up by police. They said police picked Garai up after their neighbour, a sweet shop owner, accused him of theft.
“My son was working in Gujarat as a labourer and came back home due to the lockdown around a month ago. He also stayed in quarantine,” Garai’s father Narugopal said. He claimed that three days before the suicide, his neighbour Shivaran Gorai had accused Garai of stealing money from his shop. Shivaran also lodged a police complaint.
“Souvik is innocent. But the police picked him up Sunday and thrashed him. After his release Monday, Shivaran and his relative Sajal again came to the house and beat up Souvik,” the father said.
He said his son killed himself as he was ashamed and embarrassed about the whole incident.
Police sources said that Narugopal has lodged a complaint against Shivaran, Sajal and another relative Kajal over Souvik’s death, and a case has been registered based on it.
As Souvik’s body was found, protests broke out in the area over the role of the police. The police later said they have arrested Shivaran and Kajal in connection with the death while Sajal is on the run.
An investigation has also been started by Additional Superintendent of Police (Bolpur) Shivprasad Patra on the role of the officers of the Lokpur police station. According to police sources, the two officers of Lokpur police station could not provide any specific reason as to why Souvik was taken into custody without initiating any case against him even after receiving a complaint of theft from the sweet shop owner.
The allegation of Souvik being beaten up in custody is also being probed, they said.